February 24, 2011 - Maine offshore wind research

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Collaboration between academia and industry is key to tackling the significant technical and legal challenges associated with the development of offshore wind potential.  This symposium held this week by the University of Maine and the DeepCWind Consortium gives project developers the research results they will need to make more informed bids for offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine.

The report gives key data useful to any developer of a successful offshore wind project in the Gulf of Maine: data on "met-ocean conditions" (wind and wave data, weather information), the results of seabed characterization studies, electric interconnection and grid data, and information about the impacts of a given project on both the physical environment and stakeholder interests.  The compilation of this information entailed a massive undertaking, performed by the University and its research partners through a federal Department of Energy-funded grant.

This report dovetails with the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s request for proposals for long term contracts for deep water offshore wind energy pilot projects.  That RFP calls for initial responses from interested developers by May 1, 2011. The RFP solicits proposals to sell renewable energy, capacity, and RECs from one or more floating deepwater offshore wind energy pilot projects, with a possible carveout for tidal projects.  Last year's Ocean Energy Task Force bill gives the Maine PUC authority to approve one or more long term contracts for up to 30 megawatts of installed capacity and associated renewable energy and renewable energy credits from such projects.

Who will bid in response to the RFP?  Will there be a truly competitive process?  What will the responsive projects cost?  Will the incentives for developing these pilot projects be sufficient to attract concrete proposals?

No comments:

Post a Comment